Rapper Rincon Sapiência at the São Paulo headquarters of the producer Boia Fria. Photo- Henrique Santana : pageB!
Rapper Rincon Sapiência at the São Paulo headquarters of the producer Boia Fria. Photo: Henrique Santana / pageB!

Danilo Albert Ambrosio is a 32-year-old citizen of São Paulo, born in Cohab 1, a community of popular vertical housing built in Artur Alvim, on the outskirts of the east side of São Paulo.

In 2010, however, the young man's ordinary life took a turn. Already assuming the codename Rincon Sapiência, artistic alias derived from the Colombian ace who won the Interclub World Cup with Corinthians in 2000, Danilo stole the Brazilian Hip-Hop scene with the release of the official clip of his composition Elegance, written by him the previous year.

After facing a succession of underemployments and a lot of solitary production, in 2014, the release of the EP SP Ghetto BR left no doubt: the MC confirmed his vocation there to appear as a hereditary artist of the best tradition of rhyming stars in the country, such as Sabotage, Black Alien, Mano Brown and Xis, the latter two of great influence in his formative days.

Last May, Rincon Sapiência's long-awaited first album came out, incensed by countless positive reviews in the local press. Fair. Inspired by the mythical saga of Galanga, or Chico Rei, an African monarch who, after being enslaved and brought to Brazil, managed to free himself and other slaves, after killing his plantation owner, Galangal Free brings together 13 exquisite compositions and is a serious candidate to appear at the top of the list of best musical releases of 2017.

Days after returning from a European tour that toured five countries, Spain, England, Ireland, Switzerland and Portugal, Rincon Sapiência received the report from page B! at the São Paulo headquarters of Boia Fria, a production company that, for two years, has managed his ascending career.

In a long chat, marked by the artist’s relaxation and sagacity, whose oratory is as dynamic and fulminating as in his rhymes, Rincon recalled his trajectory, gave skeptical opinions about the 2018 presidential election, spoke of apparently frivolous aspects in the face of the chronicle. of rap, but who gain other values ​​in their discourse, such as the importance of affirmation through fashion and the right to dance. In addition to measuring the importance of a trip he made to Africa in 2012, he also detailed, among other topics, the fight against racism and conservatism on the rise in the country.

Of course, the charismatic MC also spoke of the anticipation for the two official launch shows of Galangal Free, which will take place this Friday (29) and Saturday (30), at Sesc Pompeia (read more).

With the word, Rincon Sapiência, also identified by the alias “Manicongo” (understand why, in the artist's own words)

page B! – From childhood to adolescence lived in Cohab 1, how did you make the transition from Danilo to Rincon? 
Rincon Sapience – I grew up in a very strong musical environment, not in the sense of having musicians in the family, but of listening to a lot of music. Our entertainment has always been, and still is, listening to records. There was always a lot of vinyl and K-7 tape at home, a 3-in-1 stereo… On my parents' side, there was the North American black music thing, artists like Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, among others, and the music thing Brazilian music, samba, samba-rock, Jorge Ben.

What are your parents called?
Ivan and Carlos.

I imagine that their youth was spent at the turn of the 1970s to the 80s, when the culture of black dances on the periphery was very strong in São Paulo. 
That's right. My father even – I won't remember all the details – met my mother at a dance, at a street party that happened all the time. For a long time, my mother used to say to us “hey, why don't you dance, why don't you have fun? In my time, we used to get together to listen to music and dance samba-rock”. My father, very vain like me, always wore very round hair, short pants, with the right part in the leg. Music connected the two of them, so naturally, when they had kids, we ended up growing up in this musical environment. I have two brothers and the oldest, when he was about 12 years old, came with the rap thing.

What are their names?
Leandro, who is five years older than me, and Evandro, the one in the middle. I am the name that does not rhyme. The flow break (laughs). Leandro listened to a lot of rap with his school friends. Often they would do homework and his friends would glue with vinyls, K-7 tapes and VHS tapes, which was also another strong entertainment.

Did he take the rap generation that emerged in Brazil in the early 1990s? 
Yes. In this fervor of rap from the periphery, he was the teenager who, in love, enjoyed the releases of records, tapes, clips, clothes and everything else. There's that thing about the older brother being the influence of the younger one, who wants to wear the same clothes, wants to have a group similar to his, and I was that little black guy who wanted to be there in the middle, but, for a long time, my brother said "go to your room". I wanted to be with his parsa. At first, he fought memo. He would put on a K-7 tape to listen, find the song at another point and say "you're going through my stuff!". Over time, he came to understand that it was a thing that I really liked and he started to add, to tell me how the ride was, the head banging, what the “geckos” were (according to the Doctor MCs group, author of Melo the Lizard, in the middle of rap, this is an individual considered inauthentic, an “inconvenient type who just wants to appear”).

In addition to rap, you were also passionate about football, dreamed of being a player.
At the age of 15, I wanted to be a professional player, but I started to let go, because I grew up and fell in love with the street. Football has its disciplines, and I started getting into that thing of wanting to get girlfriends, of staying on the street. Football and its responsibilities began to take a toll and I saw that I liked having fun more than that rule of training every week and playing on the weekends. That's when I wrote my first rap and started my band.

How was the formation of this band?
It was curious: a drum set and two guitars. She had no bass.

Did you play guitar?
No, I just sang. It was all very fast. I did a rap and people hugged me, because there was this wave of having a lot of little bands in Cohab. Reggae rock band. As many of them played covers, when I made my music it was an extra spice. An authorial work.

What was this song called? 
only good blood. It was a version of The Manos and the Mines, from Xis, who talked a lot about Cohab 2, mentioned the Bronx, a team from there, mentioned the mina, the samba. I made a song with the same logic, but citing the team from my neighborhood, Cohab 1, talking about my boys, samba and skateboarding. I wrote the song, we started the band and a good friend, who lived in the apartment above mine, was learning to play guitar with some rock kids from grunge, who were listening to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, these tapes. I was singing, he grooved a very simple groove, of two chords, and passed the base to another guitarist bullet. We also joined a new kid in the building, who played drums in the church, we took a borrowed drum, went to play and magic happened. In a short time we had this authorial song, with our arrangement, our lyrics. People would go to the garage to see us play.

At the launch of Boogie Naipe, Rincon visits Mano Brown's dressing room, the inaugural influence of his MC career. Photo- Reproduction : Facebook
On the release of “Boogie Naipe”, Rincon visits the dressing room of Mano Brown, the inaugural influence of his MC career. PHOTO: Playback / Facebook

And what was the band called?
Ammunition from 38, or MD 38. In Cohab the streets are identified by numbers and ours was 38.

What was it like to live in Cohab 1? For those who don't have the dimension, isn't it an exaggeration to say that the condominium is a “city”?
Compared to Cidade Tiradentes and Cohab 2, not so much. But it's very big, at the same time it's a place that, kicking, you walk the whole ravine, go to the neighboring ravines. At Cohab 2, to go to a certain place, you have to go by bus. At Cohab 1 I always walked. And that's where the magic happened, I got rid of football and started in music. It was a bit of a shock for the family, because they supported me a lot in football, which is a much more promising and profitable market than music, a more difficult path – even more so in rap, a movement from the periphery, without greater prospects of putting music on the radio or in a soap opera.

So much so that, at that time, the major labels did not pay much attention to this production. Racionais MCs, for example, established itself in independent Zimbabwe.
Exactly. The relationship with the major labels is not so good until today, but at that time it was much less.

How long were you with this band?
It didn't last long. We formed the band and in a short time we did the first show in a square in front of the building, Praça do Morcegão. It was an event in which the main attraction was Xis. The event started in the afternoon, and he was only going to play at night. In the afternoon, when it wasn't very crowded, the kids went there and said “hey, it's the band here from the broken, let us play?”. I was scared to death, hoping the guys would say no, but they said “look for the instruments” (laughs). We carried everything in our hands, played with guitar and crystal, which amplifies the sound, I sang and had support. I got off the stage and people came to give a shout. I liked it and I continue to this day. Since I started, I haven't stopped writing. I have several notebooks that I find to this day at my mother's house.

His lyrics speak of the daily life of the periphery with the same ease that they speak of music, cinema, fashion. How did you form such a diverse repertoire of information?
It took me a while. As I always say, since I discovered rap, my idols have always been the Racionais MCs. But it was too pretentious for a kid like me to want to be like the Racionais or tell fucked up life experiences in a five-minute song. Their rap told a very adult reality, of those on the front. When I heard Xis, I discovered that he had this characteristic of Racionais’s rap – the thing about racial pride, talking about the periphery –, but in a more eastern style, of the guy who likes football, who talks about his relationship with girls , who has a cool visual style, a resourcefulness different from the other rappers.

In addition to the fact that he also reaffirms the influence of Brazilian music…
Exactly. He brought references that I liked a lot. So, he also wanted to be a rapper because of Xis, which was already a different bias, of doing rap talking about things that were not so common in traditional rap. I started with a band, that is, I already appeared as a point out of the curve. As the band didn't last long, I started to manage on my own and started picking up the bases of gringo instrumental beats. At Galeria do Rock there was a lot of that, CDs with names like “Bases para Rappers Volume 1”, “Bases Para Rappers Volume 2”. We would buy these CDs and fit the lyrics. I also downloaded Hip-Hop Ejay, an editing program that already comes with several ready-made harmonies loops, bass loops, drum loops, and I was fitting the lyrics.

In other words, has composing always been a solitary experience? You often doing everything?
Yes, doing everything, but at that time, with some support from my brother, Leandro, and also from a DJ from Radial, a dance I went to very

Where was this dance?
In Tatuapé (neighborhood in the east side of São Paulo). There's a cousin of mine from the north side, who is very outgoing, and he sometimes slept at home to go with my brother to the Radial's Saturday dance. On Sunday, they would wake up telling stories of the night, of the mines they caught, of my cousin making fun of the geckos dancing. So it was a dream for me to be part of that. When I started going out to party, I caught the clubber era. I went to Broadway a lot to listen to electronic music, drum n' bass; Dj Marky, Rascal, these tapes. I started going out with a black friend, a clubber. I used to go there to have fun, but it was a little difficult for me to get some girls, because people called me “bro”. Everyone clubber, their hair standing on end with glycerin soap, and I glued bald memo, like rapper (laughs).

I remember that at that time, in a pejorative way, clubbers from upscale neighborhoods, such as Jardins, called these people “cyber-brothers”…
In fact, there were clubbers and cyber-punks (from the outskirts of São Paulo) who also liked electronic music, but heavier stuff, like Prodigy. It was a rougher class. Clubbers were kind of the emos back then. They were afraid of cyber-punks, because sometimes there was even some bullshit. Skaters didn't like clubbers either. So, my profile was the one that clubbers were afraid of (laughs). It was at this time that I started to get my people together, some girlfriends, and I saw that I could stay up all night and enjoy listening to music. I was still a minor, but there was no inspection at the Radial. Three times I went to Broadway I thought “I think I can go to Radial now”. And there was another tape. I didn't feel like an alien on the ride. One of the DJs, William, who lived in Cohab, had a computer, Soundforge (audio editing software), knew how to sample, things that were not so democratic. Often, to make the beats, I would go to his house or to a friend who had a computer. But the great thing is that in a short time of rap I had this phase of using Hip-Hop Ejay, and I was able to have an authorial and authentic work, even with my limitations. Sometimes, I would go to some rap festival that sang a million groups and saw many similar to Racionais, Fação Central, De Menos Crime, and I already had a thing for myself.

Rincon and part of the cast of the video for A Coisa Tá Preta. Photo Angelo Lorenzetti
Rincon and part of the cast of the video for “A Coisa Tá Preta”. PHOTO: Angelo Lorenzetti

Looking for other references?
When I went to Radial I was influenced by American rap. I've always wanted to be like Master-P, like DMX, like Ja Rule. I also had the Hip-Hop Underground phase, which was just the opposite, a rap scene in which people didn't listen to mainstream rap, the kids listened to Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest, Jurassic 5, something more connected to culture. of the DJ, of the free-style. In Brazil, my references were already Kamau, Academia Brasileira de Rimas, Quinto Andar, this thing, until I found my bias, my vocals, my flow.

And at that time did you do a lot of shows?
They played, but it was in that guerrilla scheme, playing in a public school, in Jardim Elaine, close to Cohab, where there was a young people who did some events. The whole Sunday was rap. There were MC battles, concerts. I always went as someone's puppy. Sometimes, a group that had more walking would go somewhere and take me. I went to Francisco Morato (municipality of Greater São Paulo, near the east side of the capital), took the train, walked the fuck out and, getting there, nothing was organized. A million groups sang, the shows were long and I never knew when I was going to sing. But, at the same time, as I was young and one group had to support the other, I had the will and appetite to hold this whole bar. Over time, I started to get more boring, charging more for my work and my production. After a long time, my brothers bought a computer and I finally started putting the songs I liked in my bases. I listened to a lot of Brazilian music. I sampled Eumir Deodato, Banda Black Rio and fitted my rhymes. I recorded on a dynamic microphone, formed a repertoire, had about five songs on My Space and everyone was hooked. after i recorded Elegance, that's when the stuff got serious. I recorded the song in 2009, but in 2010 I released the clip and it started to happen two or three shows every month. I earned a little money and worked with telemarketers, who paid little too.

Speaking of the bars you passed, before hitting the music, you had to face a lot of underemployment.
For a long time I tried to get a job, but it didn't work. I always believed in my work with rap, but it was difficult. I was the younger brother, I wanted to wear long hair, use ear plugs – I even used them for a while –, but my mother was crazy “how are you going to get a job like that? Your brothers cheating and you there?”. Telemarketing was what saved me, because I could work the way I wanted, I could get tattooed, with whatever clothes or hair I wanted.

In what area of ​​telemarketing did you work?
Provided technical support for cable TV and internet.

Hell, no?
Total poison. But I started screwing around with it so I could buy my stuff. I had three months of experience, saw that I wasn't going to be fired, and bought a Behringer sound card, a C-3 microphone, and a four-channel mixer. So, I started recording my stuff better, but, like it or not, I stayed there on the job. My plan was to buy the stuff and get out, but I kind of got addicted to this telemarketing beach and stayed there and rap. When I didn't have the money to buy something, I thought, “gosh, tomorrow I'm going to Força Sindical first thing in the morning”. I went there, people looked at my profile and it was always “telemarketing”. Come out with about three referral letters and one of them was singing. I would start cheating in a new place, cheating, cheating until I got fed up and walked out.

back to rap Elegance, the lyrics bring a message that, for some, may sound contradictory and I would like you to approach this reading. Let me explain: last year, I made two reports that told the story of bailes black in São Paulo and two of the interviewees, Seu Osvaldo, the first DJ in the country, and Serjão Discotecário, who died recently, said that in the 1960s and 1970s, in addition to the self-esteem thing, black people also had the obligation to dress well to avoid being frowned upon by whites. How do you see this issue?
In fact, what I see as remarkable is that, for example, at the time I wrote Elegance, a crop of new rappers emerged, like me, Emicida, Rashid, Projota, and this is a song that speaks a lot about this recovery, to bring a little bit of that side of self-esteem, which rap has always had. But, given the way the periphery was before, things went through a lot of social criticism, denunciation. We arrived at a time when the poor class of the periphery was starting to have more power of consumption, to be able to insert itself better in society, to occupy more spaces, so, Elegance it is, for me, a remarkable song because of that. Many songs from that era have this factor, but Elegance stood out. Something interesting, because rap has always talked about humility, about origins. We come from the periphery, we have to be proud of where we came from, but we don't have to think it's time to be disadvantaged. I think the speech Elegance go through it. Me talking about it myself may seem too pretentious, but I see rap worrying about the look from Elegance. An avant-garde song, in the sense of assuming that it's one thing for you to be a self-centered asshole, it's another thing for you to be vain, you know? It's like the parallel you made with the bailes black, an idea that had been around since the 1970s.

As dance was also for them and is for you an element of racial affirmation.
Yes. I'm passionate about dancing. And I believe that it also has an important appeal for self-esteem. So much so that many people when they are doing an exercise to feel better, when they go through therapy, many people recommend dancing, because dancing messes with our expressions. But dance has always been pursued by more conservative thinking. Many speak, for example, of funk and the way bodies move with sensuality. There were very old African-based dances that were already repressed by Catholic and colonialist ideologies. When we allow ourselves to dance, we break these ideas a little and also break the idea a little, which does not come from our African origin, which associates dance with women, which is a big mistake. By proposing dance, you are proposing several interesting things: moving your body; releasing energies that surface only when you dance; the thing about meeting other people, especially in samba-rock, where people dance in pairs and change pairs at balls. So, I would say that dance is also part of my proposal, as activism and as entertainment.

Last August, Rincon and the band on the Cultura Livre program, an attraction on TV Cultura, presented by Roberta Martinelli. Photo- Reproduction : Facebook
Last August, Rincon and the band on the show “Cultura Livre”, an attraction on TV Cultura, presented by Roberta Martinelli. PHOTO: Playback / Facebook

Speaking of funk, what do you think of this law that intends to ban pancadões? 
I see an extremely old mindset. People have a problem with that. I have a friend who works with Afro dance and has moves that some African masters pass that many Brazilians feel repressed to do. Especially girls, depending on the movement, if they have to open their legs, for example. So, this is part of these ideas that have always repressed us, this movement that this is wrong, is profane. Funk goes through this a lot. You can, yes, put on the table several positive and negative ideas, but funk essentially proposes meeting, entertainment. It is very practical for you to stop your car, open the trunk, put on a stereo and people have fun, each one spending what they can consume, without the formality of paying to enter. So, this autonomy of funk also bothers. Funk is a very organized and profitable market. There are a lot of people making money, making things happen without necessarily needing radio, major labels. Many artists are there doing shows, play at a dance in Guianazes and then go to play in São Matheus. Funk is very independent. Everything revolves around funk. Everything happens from them to them. So, I think that's also why they try to criminalize funk. The cue they take is to talk about what goes on in the periphery, with regard to drugs. Things that are already there, with funk or not. So, some ideas, like eroticism, already exist there, with funk or not. They are, for example, in drink advertisements, which always place women with sexual appeal. I see gigantic hypocrisy. I've been to a meeting, when my son was studying at the prezinho...

What age do you have a child?
He is 9 years old, his name is Emanoel. His teacher and the school principal were very nice people, but there was a moment when they said they didn't like funk, that they didn't think it was cool, for example, to see children singing funk. I was in a recreation promoted by them and all the time they played sertanejo. Then I noticed that there was a lot of talk about drinking. There was a song that played, which was one of the ones that caught my attention, because the guy told the girl to leave her boyfriend, his friend, and for them to go somewhere discreet to make out. Then I thought, “hey, damn music!”. And what happens there? You see that the hammer has a different weight when you're talking about music from the periphery, music from black people. When these values ​​come from other people, from other social classes, there is no such sieve. So, I see this criminalization of funk as something hypocritical and unfair.

And how do you see the growth of funk music in São Paulo, which, incidentally, has also driven the discussion about this law?
I think too much. São Paulo has this potential. The outskirts of the city are practically the Northeast. A lot of neighbors from Ceará, Bahia, Alagoas. São Paulo is a place that traditionally brought other cultures and made their adaptations. This happened with samba and it also happens with funk. I find it very interesting, because it keeps the tradition of music from the periphery alive. Nowadays, rap has gained another character. I see it myself. I think it's crazy that rap is on the periphery, but I know that I talk about many things that are big-headed and won't make it into the popular scene. But funk is a periphery point of view, which also ends up being segmented. In São Paulo, they created their niche and there are people who are uncomfortable “ah, rap lost to funk”. I disagree. I think rap hasn't lost to anyone. This funk generation created, through a series of things, its identity. São Paulo also brought the Passo do Romano (dance style derived from funk that emerged in the Jardim Romano neighborhood, on the east side). Dance and funk are very much associated with sensuality, you know? And the Roman is also sensual, but he brought another move, another movement, because he added men to the dance. So, I think funk is from Rio de Janeiro, but São Paulo managed to build its flavor, its characteristics and its legacy.

You just talked about autonomy. And when did you create your own autonomy?
I did this with the democratization of technology resources. My creativity yields a lot, when it comes to producing and composing, but over time I came to understand that, in order to happen, I have to put a lot of energy into my work. I'm a big fan of Lil Wayne, and there's a documentary that shows him a week before the release of The Carter III, record that sold a million in a week. And there's a snippet of the movie that shows one of his managers getting a call from someone saying, "Man, the record sold a million." The guys say "oh, let's drink, to celebrate" and go to a bus to tell Lil Wayne that he had sold a million. Arriving there, he is smoking weed and recording. His reaction was to tell his friend “I told you” and that was it. I saw, then, that you can't make a grandiose stop and want to run for the hug. You have to cheat. When it comes to the artistic part, with regard to the fashion references I bring, the looks I put together, the music language I bring, all the creative part is 100% in my domain. On the professional side, which involves doing business, I have been working with Boia Fria for two years. I tried to do that too, but I was never a good administrator. Today, my autonomy passes 100% through art.

Speaking of this artistic domain, when and how did you start conceiving the Galangal Free
Galangal is a natural fruit of my creativity. So much so that a good part of the repertoire had already been recorded when I made the EP SP Ghetto BR (listen up), my previous disc. When I recorded the songs for the EP I had already recorded, for example, Ostentation to PovertyThe Thing Is Black e Flirting Girl. Okay, the production evolved over time, I changed some timbres, improved some things. At first, we did an audition here at Boia Fria. I brought 17 songs, there were even more, but I thought I had a better chance of working with those. We listened, made some considerations, we were hitting the ball and then we took the team to William Magalhães (leader of Banda Black Rio and son of saxophonist and arranger Oberdan Magalhães, founder of the group, who died in 1984). He made his point, fell in love with the music, the lyrics and the production, but felt that some of the textured quality of the sounds was lacking. That's when he entered the co-production process. When it was necessary to change some timbre, he changed it; when it was necessary to revise some organic part to spice it up, he played on the tracks.

Cover of the EP SP Gueto BR, released in 2014.
Cover of the EP “SP Gueto BR”, released in 2014.

William is a conductor by training, isn't he?
Yes, he's a conductor, and he was doing this fine-tooth comb in the co-production process. He was very involved in the project. It wasn't that “I did my part and that's it” thing. There were times when he would call me and say “so, I think such a thing can be done”, and I would say “okay, I'm a jack of all trades!”. And I also invented things along the way. The music Barbarian Crime, for example, a very significant song, which has Africanness, has a thing that I lived a lot at the time, which was to enjoy African rock. I think that was a direction that propelled the record. It's a record that has a lot of guitar and that rock energy. That's where I saw that Galangal was special, the story of a guy who kills the lord of the mill. I was sewing, inventing things and turned it into an album that has a whole concept in the connection of one track to another.

Speaking of the rock thing, the album even opens with a sample of Tom Zé, the song Jimi Surrender, which has a very rocky guitar riff and is a corruption of the name Jimi Hendrix. I found it curious, because, in my reading, you have an aesthetic affinity with Hendrix, both visually and in the freedom to mix musical influences. 
Hendrix was also a starting point. Because, for example, going back to the Afro culture research thing, there's the thing about Egypt, a place that I'm fascinated by, by culture and history, but that people associate this fascination with whites, since they were black, you know ? So, I see a rock-like thing there. If I have to draw a rocker character, I'm going to do a white, hairy guy with a guitar, you know? Being that it has a previous history of construction and birth of rock that is black. So, I came to Jimi Hendrix a lot along that path. There's a pun on Tom Zé's song, “Jimi Renda-se”, and I quote Hendrix in the song Long life, which also has these sounds from my research, a bit of rock with electric piano, a thing that I love about The Doors, and the rock cadenced a lot Galangal Free. Jimi Hendrix is ​​an interesting character, I identify with him a lot because of the bohemian part, the guy was a lively man. He was charged a lot for not being so engaged in social causes, but I think Jimi Hendrix for Jimi Hendrix is ​​already an engagement, you know?

The revolution was in himself.
Exactly. The guy playing guitar like that, making music, in England, in a mostly white rock scene, with that hair, that look. All this already makes him a strong figure. And I really believe that. Even because I made this record, which has this explicit racial bias, but it may be that in a next record it won't have that anymore, and, if it doesn't exist, I myself will already be the racial reference. I can be singing about affective relationships, about parties, about dancing, because that's already in me too. Think of Pelé, a guy who is criticized a lot, even with a certain reason, but coming from where he came from, playing what he played, he earned the status of King of Football. A black guy, from Três Corações, doing all this, as many times as he has been passive when he shouldn't be, in my point of view, with regard to black representation, he is a great guy. His story speaks for him, and I see it in a lot of personalities. Working on racial activism goes a little beyond talking about racial activism.

In this moment of setbacks in public policies in the country and the growth of conservative thinking that, for example, opens up racism on the part of our society, should the activism of the black movement continue to grow? 
It is complicated. The part, I don't say it's good, but it's happening, is that over the last few years the less favored have started to express themselves more and conquer more. So, if you think about what is most influential in music today, you arrive at the periphery, you arrive at blacks or women, you arrive at gays, you arrive at classes that continue to be oppressed, but which today are more inserted than once. Apart from this insertion, which was conquered, we are informing ourselves and even saying that things are bad, that things are not good. Gays also come out and talk about memo, with clothes, with attitude. This has influenced and this has led this conservative class to take a stand, in the same way that we take a stand. Even because they say “hey, bro, people are just growing, they're just pushing, they're getting out of their zone, even if it's in slow steps, but hey; it's taking up space, they have quotas, and they're being formed, they're having brands, having channels on Youtube, they're articulating and taking one. We need to take a stand too!” So, the opposition, let's say, is taking off their masks, because they always existed with this famous thought, like Bolsonaro's, for example. People who think like him have always existed, but as much as we asserted themselves, they were forced to assert themselves too, to take off their masks. Before, we were stabbed in a way that we thought everyone was together, and we just took it. Nowadays, we already know who our opponents are, and they take a stand. I think it's a good way to have discussions and try to resolve them. Brazil has always been late in this sense. There is always racism, homophobia, a series of things, and people saying “no, what is that?! Brazil is the time. The country of miscegenation, I don't know what there…”, although it's not quite like that.

Has racial democracy been challenged?
Today, the stop is more explicit, and this leads us to position ourselves better, everyone knows where they should be and this is a path to progress. But, on the other hand, these people who represent the opposition are influential, people who move the machines, the big channels, the big communication vehicles. Hence this polarization that is happening now and all this setback. It's a very difficult situation. So, a bomb can go off and an unfortunate exit can happen, nobody wants everything to turn into chaos; or a bomb may explode and people feel more charged with knowing how to vote better, in knowing how to engage better, in knowing how to position themselves and, from that, a change can take place. Sometimes these catastrophic situations can trigger positive situations. So, I think we're living this moment "we'll wait for scenes from the next episode".

You believe in the solidity of the country's institutions. You spoke a little while ago about Bolsonaro, and soon we will have presidential elections. Today, do you believe in democracy?
It's all very explicit. I have no connection with any party and I don't put my hand in the fire for any politician. But I know that a democratic thing is for you to vote and choose your candidate. But the coup happened, and in a short time this whole thing came: Amazon, education, health. The setback is happening and this shows how much the people who are elected and hold these positions are responsible for the things that happen in the country. So, I think the reading to be done is “wrong people in positions, wrong things happen”. With more ethical and sensible people, ethical and sensible things will happen. And that is part of democracy. We choose at the ballot box, but from the moment we choose and our choices are not enforced, from changes like this coup, this pile of shit happens. We left this domain of democracy. In Brazil today, democracy is a lie, a farce.

At Largo da Batata, in São Paulo, during the Música Pela Democracia concert series. Photo- Reproduction : Facebook
At Largo da Batata, in São Paulo, during the concert series “Música Pela Democracia”. PHOTO: Playback / Facebook

Changing the subject, what was the experience of touring Europe like for the first time?
The trip to Europe was very good. I went to France, Sweden, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and England. It was really crazy, because when you get there you see what's true and what's a lie. I, who like fashion a lot, thought “hey, I'm going to Paris, and such”… Then I got there and saw that Brazilians dress very well. You see a lot of cheesy people as hell (laughs). I also saw a lot of problematic. I saw children asking for things on the street, I saw traffic. And talking to people, in most places I've been, I've heard people talking about particular problems; political, social, drugs. So, the cool thing about going to different places is that you get out of the myth and get to know the reality. The same thing happened when I got to Senegal and Mauritania, where people like to sell the tribal African stuff.

How was that trip? 
It was excellent. It showed that same impact. You go to Africa and think “whore, the stuff is crazy there”, but you get there and you see people who speak three, four languages, people who have traveled to a lot of places, who know a lot of good musicians and who have many references.

What year did you go? 
I went in 2012. I stayed 14 days in Senegal and three days in Mauritania. Places that I, given the conditions, would happily live there. It would be an easy year. While there, I, who likes to research Africanities and things in the world, identified how much Europe is also a granary of Africanity. Many of the African music bands have their work in Europe, England, France, where there are rappers from Senegal, Mali. After getting to know this part of Africa, I was also curious to know this African side of Europe. It didn't take long, we had the opportunity to go there and it was exactly what I imagined. I met many interesting artists. Most places in Europe have this cosmopolitan thing about bringing together Arabs, people from Sri Lanka, India and Africa, a diversity. There were situations where I went to the streets in Lisbon, like Caparica, broken memo, and it felt like I was in Cohab 2. That street rhythm, malandrage memo, we listened to a lot of Afrohouse. I turned on the notebook, started composing on the street, and I happened to visit Branco's studio, which belonged to Buraka Som Sistema, and I left there with a new song, which I matched with a track by another producer, King Kong. I can say that I came back a new artist, thinking about the new flights.

Rincon and band during a recent concert in Paris. Photo- Lisandro de Almeida
Rincon and band during a recent concert in Paris. PHOTO: Lisandro de Almeida

In fact, days ago, Gilberto Gil revisited the repertoire of refavela, an album released 40 years ago that was also influenced by his trip to Africa.
Exactly. This album by Gil is amazing! THE Galangal Free I didn't have a project name, but I had this idea of ​​afrorap, a song with a modern language, but with references to Brazilian music. Flirting Girl, for example, has the heavy bass move, but there is also the ciranda of Lia de Itamaracá. The power of this I discovered at a festival I went to in Dakar, which had people from all over the world and, even though they didn't understand what I was saying, they identified with my sound, through the capoeira berimbau, through the paranauê. I left there thinking “this is the way, what you are doing is global and needs to be explored”. That's why I say that in the next works I come with an even greater global mindset.

And how are the preparations for the official launch shows of Galangal Free, in two weeks? 
That usual anxiety. We are working hard to give our best, to render it cool. It will be a special record of life. One thing that has happened frequently. I've been making clips that resonate well; this year, I was in several places in Brazil for the first time, such as Belém and Recife; I went to Europe.

The disc was released in May. Why this hiatus until the official release? 
It was the time of preparation, of maturing everything. A lot has happened since then. The record came out and we already had a closed schedule for several shows. Obviously we've been working on the album's repertoire, but I wanted to look for a special moment to mark the album's release in a show with the 12 songs and the full band.


listen to the album Galangal Free, in full, on Youtube


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